Breaking: Data Protection Regulation stays on track – EP adopts Albrecht report

Today, a massive majority of the European Parliament supported Jan Albrecht’s report on the proposed European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 621 Members of Parliament voted in favour of the Albrecht report. 10 Members voted against the report and there were 22 abstentions. This means there is an overwhelming amount of support for the proposed reform of privacy policy in the EU Parliament.

With today’s vote, the first reading of the EP has been completed and the proposal will proceed to the next legislative stage, in which the European Council of Ministers debates on the data protection package. Discussion on the proposal will continue after the summer in the trialogue between the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament, in its new composition after the upcoming elections in May.

The GDPR introduces vast changes in the way personal data should be processed, rights for data subjects are safeguarded and the way companies should assess risks when working with personal data. After today’s vote, the actual realisation of the GDPR has come a big step closer.

The impact of this policy review on companies in the EU is expected to be huge. The regulation will have direct effect across Europe. During a press conference before the vote, Jan Albrecht states that “Companies that require consent for processing data under the current regime (of 1999) can generally proceed doing so once the new regime has entered into force, but they may have to renew this consent in cases where they are obviously not meeting the standards of the new regulation.” He stresses the importance of consent for maintaining consumer trust in a company’s products and services”

Albrecht also commented on the impact of the GDPR on transatlantic trade: “the new regime will not hinder trade with the US, because we know that data privacy is an important value in the US as well. We expect that data privacy in the private sector will be on the legislative agenda in the US very soon. Our reform process is followed with great interest by our America counterparts. US stakeholders, such as the American Chamber of Commerce have been very involved in the current EU lawmaking process.
It will actually facilitate transatlantic trade when we continue harmonisation of policy among EU states and create a clear regulatory climate in the EU. Once we have common positions, that will also make negotiations with, for example, US trade officials easier. ”